MANCHESTER: David Silva has all the attributes to cement his place as one of Manchester City's leading lights for years to come, according to his manager Pep Guardiola.
It is believed Silva, 31, is close to agreeing a new deal with the Premier League leaders as his current contract expires at the end of next season.
Guardiola believes the Spain midfielder has shown the physical strength and durability to be able to cope with life in the Premier League for so long.
"What I like the most with David, being a guy who is a little bit serious in his life and a little bit shy, is the fact that he has survived so well in this league," he said.
"I like how competitive and aggressive he is in winning duels. He's a guy who is normally more technical, and more about the pass.
"I admire him a lot because he suits Spanish football perfectly but he's survived for a long time with the speed, the weather, the tough conditions here.
"He looks skinny and he looks like he doesn't run too much, but he's never injured and every three days he's fit and there.
"It doesn't matter if we play an important game, a friendly game, bigger stages, or small stages, he's always ready.
"I like the guys who are like this - strong and want to play - but I like guys who are not afraid to play. With David you have that a lot."
Despite the headline-grabbing performances from Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane, Guardiola believes it is Silva who is the perfect example of what he wants in a player.
Silva is now playing under his third City manager, having starred for Manuel Pellegrini and signed for Roberto Mancini in 2010.
- Consistency -
Guardiola believes the consistency the midfielder has offered over the years has been crucial to City's success.
"The weak points in a club is always the manager because the managers depend on the results," he said.
"The players can continue in the club and I think the supporters should have more time with this kind of player."
Guardiola paid tribute to Silva's attitude, putting that down as the reason he has been able to compete for so long in England, and urged him to put pen to paper on a new deal.
"He came in at 22 or 23 years old and in the future he may not be able to play every three days, but he's a guy who's going to play in the important stages and especially in the bad moments," he said.
"I pay a lot of attention to how players react in the bad moments during the game or during the bad situations.
"David is always there. I'm not talking about playing well or badly, but he will always be there.
"So that's why when he can finally sign the contract we'll be so happy."
City supporters idolise Silva for his role in the club's two Premier League titles, two League Cup wins and their FA Cup success in his seven-year stay and Guardiola understands the status Silva has among fans.
"Like Yaya Toure, like Joe Hart, like Vincent Kompany, like Pablo (Zabaleta) was, he's a real legend for the club," he said.
"What he has done for the club will be written in the record books in the future. I am so happy. Hopefully he can continue for the next years."